A few things on to-do list before Hammond planning starts

Hammond residents may be asking for it and developers are showing an interest in the area, but for now creating an identity for that area and setting out a plan to show how it’s all going to happen, will have to wait on a few other priorities.

First, an area plan for Albion flats has to be created.

And before that process even begins, Maple Ridge has to hear back from the Agricultural Land Commission on two withdrawal applications for the flats on the west side of 105th Avenue.

The District of Maple Ridge also needs approval from Metro Vancouver to add the area into the urban boundary.

And writing an area plan isn’t a quick process, Maple Ridge council heard Monday.

Each area plan takes about a year to complete, planning director Christine Carter said.

And once council approves a plan, bylaws still have to be written to implement it.

Jim Charlebois, community planning manager, told council that since 2006 there have been applications for about 4,000 residential units in Hammond. “It does show there’s a fair amount of pressure for some level of change,” he said.

Chief administrator Jim Rule also told council that once the study of commercial and industrial land is underway, then planning an area plan for Hammond can begin.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie said it makes sense that Hammond, with its proximity to the area’s two new bridges, gets the next area plan.

She also wanted to ensure that Lougheed Highway, between the downtown and Laity Street, be preserved as a corridor.

However, a staff report recommends that an area plan for Albion flats remain the priority.

At its workshop Monday, council decided to send the report to its regular meeting next week.

Under district policy, areas that will be considered for area plans will be those that are in some form of transition or are seeing development applications that don’t follow the long-term plan.

Once an area has been identified for an area plan, a staff report identifying the consultation process, issues and geographic area has to be created.

Typically, only one area plan will be done at a time, says the policy.

So far, the district has three area plans completed, for the Albion area, Silver Valley and the downtown.

And those areas are all experiencing the most rapid growth in the district, council heard.

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